Married couples often think back to the beginning stages of a relationship and remember those days of warm fuzzy feelings. Remember when you and your husband could hardly get enough of each other?
Do you remember talking for all hours of the night? It did not matter what you did as long as you were together.
You would never be able to imagine that after a few years of being married that those feeling would diminish or change, would you? That what you found cute or interesting, would someday irritate or bore you to death.
It is going to happen. One day you will be looking at your husband and wonder “who exactly did I marry” or you may be thinking “why I don’t even like you right now.” These feelings and thoughts happen. Trust me, they just do.
Kickstart My Heart
A few years after I was married (nearly 18 years ago), I remember having a conversation with my husband. At some point in this conversation I was so angry that I actually kicked him. Yes, I kicked him.
While I am ashamed of my behavior, my actions were a result of my increasing frustration with him. Should I have kicked him? Absolutely, not! Was I wrong? Yes. Was I justified? Maybe some of you would say yes, but I was not justified in kicking my husband. My attitude was wrong, my reactions were wrong, and it was certainly not respecting my husband or glorifying God.
If a wife allows feelings of anger, resentment, and pain to harbor in her heart, eventually it will result in bitterness and unforgiveness. Her heart will harden towards her husband, and feelings of dislike and at some point hatred will take over where love once stood. As a young wife, I had allowed those seeds of bitterness to take root in my heart and the growth was like a cancer. It spread into our relationship and had begun to cause damage.
Young wives and those newly married are in danger poisoning their marriages if they are not viligent to kill those weeds of bitterness, anger, and resentment. Marriage is more than just the wedding day. Love is more than a feeling. Love is an action. An action, that we as wives must do something about, especially when we’re married.
Below are five lessons that women can do to put love into action in their marriages.
Four Lessons Wives Must Understand in Order to Protect Their Marriage
1. Realize Love is an Action Verb
Love must be cultivated and pruned, as a garden would. And just as a garden requires sunlight, watering, weeding, and fertilizing; so does a marriage. “Marriages, like a garden, take time to grow. But the harvest is rich unto those who patiently and tenderly care for the ground.” (Darlene Schacht)
Gardens may suffer through a period of drought, but yet the gardener lovingly tends to the garden nurturing every step of the way. The hope of the gardener is that the garden flourishes under the loving care and protection of the gardener. It often takes the gardener hours of hard work to see results. And at times it can be extremely frustrating, especially if the weather is not conducive to growing.
A marriage is the same way. During periods of drought, the marriage requires tender loving care. It needs to be watched and maintained as a prized possession if it is to be prosperous and fruitful. (Proverbs 24:30-34.)
*Water regularly with praise.
*Keep close watch on your garden.
*Look for the strengths in your spouse and nurture them. You’ll start to see growth in other areas as well.
*Remember that acts of kindness enrich the soil, which is where your marriage is rooted.
2. Weed Your Garden
Watch out for weeds. Weeds grow as well as vegetables. This goes for marriages too. Get rid of the problem areas in your marriage before they take over and choke out the joy of your relationship.
Weeds start small. Weeds of bitterness start as seeds of irritation – a single incident, which if not dealt with, can escalate into weeds with deep roots. Weeds of unfaithfulness usually begin in the mind with little seeds of lustful thoughts toward people outside your marriage.
Weeds of anger often begin with single annoyances or frustrating behavior from your spouse, that have been allowed to seep into your heart and fester. Once rooted those weeds of annoyances give way to anger. Anger can dull the other emotions, especially if all you do is look for the wrong your husband does.
Weeds can make a garden messy and unmanageable. They take nutrients from the soil instead of the ones the gardener is trying to cultivate. Weeds in a marriage can take the time, energy, and love away from your relationship.
Weeds are ugly. They can make the vegetable or flower garden look unkempt and uncared for. Make sure you are caring for you relationship as you continue to cultivate your marriage.
Seeds of bitterness, resentment, and anger turn into an overgrown garden that if not taken care of can and often will result in divorce.
What weeds do you have growing and have taken root in your garden?
3. Realize that Love is Not Just a Feeling
In our culture, we associate love with emotional feelings. Those warm fuzzies are a result of being in love, but not actually love itself. When the King James translators came upon the Greek word agape (God’s Love), and often in translating it the word charity was used. This was done to reinforce the idea that agape is a selfless, giving love. God’s Love is unselfish and unconditional. Now we know what is meant by Christian love. Now we know what to strive for… we must as wives, young or old, treat love as an action, not as a feeling.
While God does not command our emotions, he does command our behavior and actions. In whatever God commands us to do, He will equip us to do. The Bible is to be our guidebook for all that we do, especially our marriages. All wives will be held accountable for actions in their relationship with their husbands. How will you be held?
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
4. Realize the Imperfections of Husbands and Wives
Both Husbands and Wives:
-We all age and show signs of aging
-Get lazy in our actions
-Assume what the other is thinking
-Take each other for granted
-We stop trying on simple things
-We can be negative
-Will fail, over and over
-Disappoint each other, a lot
-Annoy each other
-Anger each other
I could keep going, but I think you get the picture. As wives and husbands there will be days that you are really struggling. There will be days where you wonder if you made a mistake or should even be married anymore. However, please be reassured that divorce is not part of God’s plan.
And we wives, need to realize that our husbands are not Mr. Right or even Mr. Perfect. You may even have the urge to kick your husband. However, we cannot control what they do, but we can control our reactions to them. I know that it may be extremely difficult in marriage to even like your husband, but to actually love your husband?
As a wife, you and I are called to deeply love our husbands. We can be awfully unlovable much of the time, but we have a Lord the loves us so much. We continually take solace in His grace and mercy on our lives, to which we should be most thankful. However, do you extend this kind of grace and mercy to your husbands?
Christian wives are simply called to love their husbands (Titus 2:4). Love is an action. Wives are called to love their husbands.
Encouragement for Wives and Marriage
If you are about to get married, newly married, or been married a while there are ways you can learn how to truly love your husband.
You can learn to love, honor, and respect your husband the way we are advised in the Bible. Scripture provides many opportunities for husbands and wives for instructions on marriage. The confines of the blog do not permit me to list every single verse related to marriage and love, the following five are a good start for wives to meditate on pray about.
Here are some ways to put love into action in your marriage.
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Stephanie, Training Keepers of the Home